I guess this is not quite programming related, but does fit into the general "Substrate ecosystem" discussions. I broad terms, I believe I know what the Kusama society does - it forms a human blockchain.

From having a discussion with one of my friends, he mentioned that the Kusama society had some huge bounties in the past and from there the growth exploded. Can somebody who was there and participated at the time shed some light on this?

Specifically I guess in historic terms -

  • how did the growth look like when it was launched?
  • how did the society manage to put up a large bounty?
  • how long did it take before it was taken?
  • what happened since then?
  • are there more opportunities for big bounties?

I know this is quite broad, but I guess i'm after some history lesson - and I believe others would be interested as well to learn more about this experiment.

3 Answers 3


The society was launched on January 19th, 2020 with an onchain convention of membership

As you can see in Luke's answer, it took half a year for the first dozen members to join.

The society doesn't "pay bounties to people who join" - instead, people bid how much they are willing to join the society for, and the lowest bidders fill up the empty seats in the society, up to a certain number of seats per ~week - currently, the society is full, so there is usually only one seat available at a time, and that is only if an existing member is suspended from their position.

This mechanism means that in the early days, especially in the first few months, you could bid whatever you wanted, and if the society's "pot" had that much available, it is what you would receive for joining the society. The society "pot" was initially funded by donations and one or two proposals to the treasury of the chain.

A couple of early members of the society got rewarded amounts of up to 1000 ksm for joining. But after these initial big payouts, the amount of bidders/competition meant that it was unlikely that you would be awarded more than 10ksm. Nowadays, the number of prospective members means only bidders requesting effectively 0 KSM end up joining the society.

Technically, while a small proportion of the Kusama Treasury's continuous burn is now directed towards the society's payout pot, the bidding mechanism means that large amount of tokens is not accessible to anyone as long as there are people willing to enter the society for free.

  • TIL - have only been watcing from the sidelines since it seemed full
    – Barto
    Commented Mar 28, 2022 at 7:36

The "Kappa Sigma Mu (KΣM)" Kusama society website is here and further guidance is here, which mentions its use of the Substrate Society pallet, where its rules are stored on-chain here, and members and candidates interact on-chain by connecting to a Kusama endpoint using Polkadot.js Apps here, and then navigate to the Society here.

In Kusama Polkassembly Discussions here there are numerous historic discussion posts regarding the bounties and growth strategies. It allows you to filter on-chain activities to only list bounties here if you want to find currently available bounty opportunities.

Kusama launched in Sep 2019. It mentions in this article from Feb 25th 2020 that back then new members that were approved to join received 15 KSM.

There were "A week in Kusama" posts published here that show how the KΣM community growth evolved since launch, which I summarised below:

  • Mar 27th 2022, 137 members (~91% of max. capacity), 1 candidate
  • Mar 2021, 150 members (100% of max. capacity) admitted worldwide
  • Jan 10th 2021, 44 members, 5 candidates
  • Oct 18th, 2020, 23 members, 1 candidate
  • Oct 4th, 2020, 17 members
  • Sep 27th, 2020, 15 members, no candidates, 2 bids, insufficient pot size to cover the bids.
  • Sep 20th, 2020, 12 members, 1 candidate, 5 additional bids

Since then an example of a bounty that was taken was for KSM brand and website development, where they published progress reports #1 and #2, which includes their KSM Vision Document.

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